Why Are Lesbians So Weird?

By Kendra Holliday | April 24, 2012

Shine overlooking the ocean, no doubt contemplating deep, positive thoughts

A thought-provoking letter by my friend Shine, in response to my post earlier this week:

Dear Kendra,

It’s fine that you think of me as a “butch lesbian”, but I don’t really think of myself that way. I consider myself queer. One way to think of queer is the complete opposite of the gender binary you use. Queer is the sliding scale between male and female bodies, minds and souls in ever-different mixtures and combinations. I am such a queer!

And why are lesbians so weird? My older sister is gay also, but she is not queer, she is a lesbian. I grew up around a lot of them/us. Good folks and all, of course, and as a young lesbian I was kind of into hanging out at the lesbian coffee shop and the gay book store, but as I grew up I found I was rather uncomfortable in the lesbian bars, and in groups of lesbians.

I have found that a.) drinking alcohol makes lesbians more tolerable. haha, and b.) in my newfound power and confidence, they don’t scare me anymore.

I’m not sure why they ever scared me. I think I felt too ugly for them or something. Also, they don’t particularly turn me on if they have any of the usual dykey qualities. Qualities that I might even want or admire in myself. Luckily for us all, lesbians have taken a decidedly more metrosexual approach to their dress and mannerisms, more urbane and what not. I don’t mean  bourgeois per se, not necessarily upwardly mobile, just not all flannel and short haircuts and rough talk. And I do say all of this laughing inside with a light heart. I mean it, it is “true” to me, but I don’t say it with malice or anything negative.

I just like feminine women, or women with a balance to their gender expression….I like womanliness too. It doesn’t always have to be an overly-feminine expression of it.
Anyway, what is it with the monogamy and hanging out with only mostly lesbians? I was in a monogamous relationship for a long, long time, but I always dreamed of multiple partners, and that breadth of experience, but I have always hung out with mostly straight people when it comes to my closest friends. These days, I have a good balance of straight, gay, bi, queer people, and it’s only getting better!

I am not a “normal” lesbian, and I don’t know why anyone would want to be, any more than I understand why anyone would want to be just plain-old straight. And by this, I mean, across the board, I don’t understand why anyone would want to hang out with only their own kind of people in their own small world. Most of us need a little variety and a little kink for balance. And so much fun sex can be explored even among people who want to be monogamous. Somehow, my outcast experiences and a searching heart, has taught me how to love better rather than to hate or be bitter. I feel so blessed in my experiences…my interactions with people continue to amaze me and blow my mind on every level.
Each family is different like each lover is different. Like each partnership is different. Meeting you, and the people I’ve met through you has been a life-changing experience to say the least. I think I’ve said this before too, but I want to say it again in this context. Life-changing, as in, helping me toward further enrichment and edification and actualization.

Something the sex-positive community has helped me do: learn to trust myself and my instincts and have the guts to move on them. It took you and I longer to get together but I was still learning to trust myself and navigate those spaces through all my interactions with you. I like that it took a while, actually, because it gave me a totally different experience from anyone else. It was like the longest, most langourous “courtship” I’ve ever participated in…slow to build, built in paces on friendship, mutual respect and admiration, began with a hand on the leg here in my kitchen, then we cuddled on your couch at girl’s night, some internet/email flirting, seeing you socially but not-yet privately, then we finally set a date!

It was very cool to take a step back from every step forward and understand it. It was like, there was no way to be afraid because it was happening in such natural-feeling increments, and then with just enough scheduling “frustration” at the end to make finally getting together even more lovely. That’s an awesome little life vignette, you know? You understand I also completely appreciate you as a person, and am glad to have made a friendship, and am excited to explore some of the possibilities for friendship and sex with you. I’m so blown away and grateful for you, and all of the other lovely women in my world right now. You’re all gifts from the universe. And not ONLY for what I’m learning, but what I’m giving and getting, and damn…I just love it. Love it.

It sounds so weird, but I am more comfortable in my current situation, hanging out with a bunch of awesome, but often already-attached bisexual women, than I have been in any particular situation in my life where friendship and sex and love are concerned. I might have yet to find the right group of gay-oriented queers, but this group is like the perfect group of straight-oriented queers for me. I say queer here as sometimes genderqueer, but there is social queer too, doing things outside the social norm. I don’t think I could be happier with how things are going.

I was trying to dream this into being before I even knew it was possible, for real. I have a good balance right now of human interaction, caring for others, great sex, and time for myself and my family and random alone time and recharge time, with the responsibilities of a genuine friendship but no further domestic or emotional responsibilities for anyone. WHICH I think is teaching me proper boundaries for being in a more serious relationship. Boundaries like letting the other person maintain their personhood, and not assuming emotional responsibility where I shouldn’t, are going to help me tremendously the next time I get more serious with someone.

You’ve also all been extremely crucial in my learning to appreciate my body as it is and maybe believe it can be useful and attractive. I’ve spent a lifetime feeling like I am too fat to be sexy, and I still feel that way to a certain extent. It takes time to get over a lifetime of belief about something. I like many shapes of women, but I never allowed myself that same potential to be beautiful to someone. And all of you have been so loving and kind toward my body. My body that I love and has gotten me this far on my journey. But I also battle with it sometimes by not exercising and eating bad things. Or drinking too much alcohol and gaining weight.

But, all in all, it is a lovely a pile of bones & exquisite nerve endings,/ immeasurable softness,/ the tank you travel in. And I’m learning to love it, and it has helped to have women I admire and respect and find to be beautiful and sexy enjoying being naked with my naked body and are able to give me appreciative feedback. Whatever I look like, this body feels good, and has good instinct for pleasure and connection, and those are key components for really good sex!

And yes, I can see us joining up to have sex with our other friends as well. Why not? haha. There are infinite possibilities. I would like to be alone with you again also. I want to get to know you better. What really brings you to that magic space.

I have few expectations and a lot of patience. In this kind of instance particularly, there is no other thing to do than be patient. It is an inherent part of this kind of friendship, I think, especially when everyone is busy and doing important and awesome things in the world.

It is super pleasing to me that our time together had a positive impact in your everyday world. I love to accidentally be useful like that. I feel we can all operate like that for each other when we’re genuine and caring and let energy come through us.

I love that you love me to read you poems. I’ve read a few poems here and there when people will listen, or when they first learn I am a poet they will ask to hear something, and I have poet friends who give me props, but you, among only a few others, seem to really like it, and I truly enjoy reading poems, even ones that are not mine, so it’s like this bonus on top of whatever else our friendship becomes….



Miss Scarlet 2012-04-25 01:48:00

This was wonderful, Shine, thank you for sharing. I’ve always thought you were beautiful, your soul is radiant and illuminates all of who you are. The more I get to know you, the more beautiful you become.


    Shine 2012-04-25 03:37:50

    well, snap! We need to hang out more often! haha. Thanks for the kind words! And, I really would like to hang out again soon. 🙂


Shine 2012-04-25 03:34:52

I love me so Novak’s for exactly those reasons! Yet it is still a woman-powerful space for gay and queer women.


The Bee's Knees 2012-04-25 04:44:41

Lady friend, have you ever looked in the mirror & seen your smile? Sexiest thing someone can posses is a smile like that. I seriously will always remember the first time I saw it & that is not an exaggeration.

Your shine is nothing less than breathtaking. Thanks for being so awesome & honest & sharing yourself with us.


Stephen 2012-04-25 10:15:31


Such typical self-centered diatribish bullshtein.

And I always ALWAYS take heat whenever I call BS on well-intended but overly wrought definition essays, which stereotypically come mostly from lesbianic folk (look at me stealing from ‘Jersey Shore’ to totally ruin my credibility).

No one overreaching social group has more disdain for labels and yet possesses more diversity of labels than the circular world of lesbians (and all that encompasses, including female queers like Shine).

It’s exhausting, it really is.


    Kendra Holliday 2012-04-25 10:35:17

    Leave it to you to dump a negative comment on a beautiful post like this, Stephen!


      Stephen 2012-04-25 16:49:16

      I’m sorry, I think I’m just getting bitterly disgusted overall by the longtime pattern of similar treatise-writings (not diatribes, which I totally had the wrong meaning for in my mind) by lesbian folks.

      I have found over the many many years that a majority (but not all) lesbians strive SO hard for individuality in both labelling and manner that the selfsame majority ends up completely grouped together – yet fight the idea of being grouped viciously when encountered.

      It’s like punks of the 70’s and 80’s. All pierced and weird-haired and forced-clothing choices so they could be completely unique and anti-whatever, only to find that when in a club they all ended up being pretty much the same to any outside observer. They, too, would spend hours individually expressing to anyone who would listen just how different and special they were, if but only because they had a safety pin in their ear and their pain manifested TOTALLY differently than anyone else.

      I think Shine’s individuality and special-ness “shines” through because of her personality and genetic looks and features – an overall picture of individuality. Nothing about her unique-ness stems whatsoever by what kind of lesbian she chooses to be – being a lesbian should be under 2% of what she is, and really only manifest when she’s making partner choices. Yet based on her long thoughtful self-relevant posting, her lesbianism has consumed a very large portion of who she is, how she identifies, and how she lives. Which I find true for such a huge majority of lesbians and gays and queers and especially transgenders (who fight daily for new labels and recognition).

      And for someone who has been involved in the fight for 20+ years, it just gets…..tiring.

      Sorry I took it out on Shine and on this blog, but this is where honesty is accepted and manifests, and I label myself an honestsexual.


        Shine 2012-04-25 18:43:07

        Stephen, I agree with you about folks not wanting to be labeled, and then ending up labeling and all the general bullshit that some people write about and deal with esp concerning sexuality and gender, and I agree with you that the letter is self-involved. But, it was originally a letter to just Kendra, and she wanted to post it, so it might have come off a bit differently if I wrote it for a public audience. I decided to leave it as real as possible for what it is. I also find the whole gender/sexuality thing exhausting sometimes.

        My intention in trying to parse out my own individuality is to also parse out everyone else’s. We are all the same but we are all very different at the same time. It’s one of the beautiful mysteries.

        I do find it unsettling that you think one’s sexuality should only encompass two percent of who they are. My sexual being is an everyday, all-the-time part of my experience in life. And I also think my genderfuck sexuality and orientation is not a choice, as in what kind of lesbian I choose to be. In my experience, it is, what kind of queer am I? And unfolding that and discovering it. I don’t fit in with most groups outwardly, and it is cool, I fit in because I don’t fit it, and I fit in because I Love Hard. And it’s all a blessing.

        Thanks for getting some hackles up! 🙂


          Shine 2012-04-25 18:51:59

          btw, I love making fun of lesbians by using the word lesbianic, and I didn’t know they also use it on jersey Shore. haha.

          Stephen 2012-04-26 13:20:39

          In Fresno we call them Fresbians.

          I think our sexuality should only be about 2% of our beings when we aren’t thinking about or pursuing sex. Granted, we may do that during 80% of our day, but when doing otherwise? Nah.

          But I see/work with sooooo many people who wake up queer, act queer, talk queer, every other word is queer-based and it is soooo exhausting. Can’t some of these people just have regular conversations without adding in their dose of queerdom??

          I get why it can overtake a personality – because most of us/them had to fight strenuously just to accept themselves and thier not-choice, let alone get others to accept them, and continually fight those in society who only see them for their sexuality. That, too, is exhausting.

          I guess I’m longing desperately for it to be 25-50 years in the future already when it doesn’t fucking matter to anyone who you want to fuck or love.

          But then I remember – the 1960’s civil rights ‘win’ for black people still isn’t completely won 50 years later, and I get tired all over again.

          Having said all of that, Shine? You can fuck me in the ass anytime.*

          *Note: While working at the SF glbt film festival, I said that drunkenly to a lesbian filmmaker I was enjoying a nice banter sesh with, and one of the workers I’d known for years who JUST came out as trans turned me in to the admins and I had to be ‘called in’ so they could explain their ‘zero tolerance policy’ to me.

          I told them very kindly that if they don’t want me to pop off in a party situation, they should stop serving all those damn delicious free-sponsored vodka drinks!

          Then I remembered I was supposed to be professional and I went and apologized for some ungodly reason to the uptight trans person.

          Then I drank more vodka. As my way of apology, if I ever meet you I’ll buy you two vodka drinks. It’s the least I can do.

        Matthew 2012-04-25 20:49:29

        “…her lesbianism has consumed a very large portion of who she is, how she identifies, and how she lives. Which I find true for such a huge majority of lesbians and gays and queers and especially transgenders (who fight daily for new labels and recognition).” You are describing Americans as a whole(and plenty of other citizens of industrialized nations), certainly not just the types of people you cited.


          Stephen 2012-04-26 13:28:22

          Beastman, I disagree.

          You don’t spend your days infusing your heterosexuality into your everyday mannerisms, discussion topics and thought processes. I imagine, like me, you just go about your day doing whatever, thinking about sex every 7 minutes (or whatever the average is), and don’t concentrate every thought on ‘what should I wear as a hetero?’ ‘I feel so het today, but people are bugging me so I plan on correcting them all the day’

          We hets have the luxury to just be. We get to concentrate sometimes on our work, on our friends, on our driving, our philosophies, etc, without having to label, identify, stress or explain ourselves.

          It’s the joy we have of being part of the majority/norm. For that I continue to fight and advocate and work for the same freedoms for every sexual ‘beast’ out there, no matter who they love or are attracted to. That part of being queer sucks ballz, no doubt about it.

          I love what the Bees Knees said at the end of this string. She got it right.

          Matthew 2012-04-26 22:24:43

          I figured you would.

    Matthew 2012-04-25 14:10:00

    Well said, JayLo! I read that comment and thought quite similarly. If the comments he makes elsewhere are like this one, the “heat” he gets is because he is totally off track, not because he’s calling bullshit. Pitiful.


    MsLilithe 2012-04-26 06:25:41

    Um, if it is so exhausting, then why do you bother reading and replying? The only one exhausting you is… well, you.


Leanne 2012-04-25 11:41:34

Thank you, Shine, for sharing your interior process. I find it very helpful to read/hear this kind of thing, and compare it to my own process. It’s a valuable learning.


Robin 2012-04-25 11:55:34

When I read the other essay I thought to myself “She doesn’t read to me as exactly or solely a butch lesbian” so I feel validated that you don’t self-define that way.


    Matthew 2012-04-25 14:11:01

    I agree. I don’t see Shine as a “butch lesbian”.


Hirsutoruffian 2012-04-25 12:38:45

You sound like a lovely person to know, Shine. I’d guess you make a greater difference in the lives of the people you meet than you realize.


Matthew 2012-04-25 13:30:38

I’ve had some seriously good times at Novak’s and JJ’s!! I didn’t feel out of place at either of them.


Hardin Reddy 2012-04-25 13:48:09

You’ve developed the courage to be yourself, rather than conform to others’ expectations. And that is something to celebrate.


Matthew 2012-04-25 14:12:44

Shine- This was a pleasure to read, my friend, sister, brother and lover of lovers. 😉 Looking forward to seeing you again!!


ElaineGS 2012-04-25 18:12:04

Shine, you do radiate that lovely warmth. Your letter is a kind explanation for a lot of important things.


Kendra Holliday 2012-04-25 19:25:02

I like how I labeled Shine a butch lesbian and how she said that was okay if I wanted to call her that, but she was actually queer (she didn’t get mad or offended!), and how a bunch of people weighed in on the labeling themselves. I come from a gender binary background and am testing the waters of genderfluidity. I like sizing up people’s energy. For instance, I think I have maybe 10% male energy? I think Matthew has .5% female energy? I think Shine has 70% male energy? What’s interesting is when she’s standing in a room and I catch her out of the corner of my eye, I get this male energy vibe from her, and then when I realize it’s her I’m like, “Oh that’s Shine!”


    The Bee's Knees 2012-04-25 20:06:45

    I totally agree about the maleness of her energy but never thought of her much as a Butch lesbian but mostly just because I don’t really do the label thing.

    Not saying labels are bad I just never felt I’ve fit into any myself so I shy away from them. 🙂


      Kendra Holliday 2012-04-25 20:09:12

      Um, you kindof fit the total nympho freak label, Bee’s.


        The Bee's Knees 2012-04-25 20:25:19

        Hahaha ya think? 😉


Tastyleisti 2012-04-25 21:04:34

Well said, Shine. Your honestly and realness are super refreshing. Also, you’re just good peoples. I’m cooking you dinner soon.


    Shine 2012-04-25 23:35:36

    I’m ready! ha! I have so much to say on this whole subject but have to think longer before I respond, and all i can bring myself to say, is yes, cook me dinner soon! See? I am *totally* butch. hahaha


GeekCheek 2012-04-26 04:19:33

The thing that strikes me after reading both Kendra’s and Shine’s words is that both of them had their uncertainties, and both of them provided a safe place for each other. That’s really cool.


    Stephen 2012-04-26 13:32:28

    That’s why I like this site, GeekC – it’s very safe for all opinions. Most readers of Kendra’s share her opinions, and I sometimes don’t, but I still feel safe to post my opinions here. Kendra calls me on my shit (as do the other posters), which I welcome completely.

    It makes TBK a very nice site to visit – even when I’m being a bitchy queen*

    *see what i did there?


The Bee's Knees 2012-04-26 13:18:10

After an interaction I had with my sister this morning I just realized another reason this got me so giddy.

Shine’s attitude/approach about her & others gender/sexuality is how I see race/ethnicities. I do see race but I don’t, it really is of no consequence to me and I don’t take race seriously but there is no disrespect intended in that. I was raised in a ethnically diverse VERY quirky family, it’s like I don’t know how to care because it just never occurs to me to do so.

I understand these personal identifiers are important to who we are. And for those who have been marginalized even more so. But I think we’re humans first, before our race, gender, sexuality, kink, religious affiliation, or political ideals.

Shine didn’t care what Kendra called her because Kendra demonstrates admiration, love & respect and THAT is what matters. When we become jaded & close ourselves off to those emotions whether it’s in giving or receiving them we begin to see the worst in people.

The lovely thing about Shine is she keeps herself open to receiving the best of others and turns around and returns it without consequence or expectation. Imagine if we would all just operate this way instead of being suspicious and overly sensitive!


Nicole G. 2012-05-01 16:26:14

Stumbled upon this lovely letter written by the flowery Shine and it shows how she is a great writer with the remarkable ability to draw the reader in. What is most adorable, in the responses, is how each comment box represents only a “piece” of what everyone is really thinking and feeling but somehow people are still trying to force these little boxes as a representation of the majority of their thought on the subject.

Not to mention all those folks that have contradicting views who aren’t even capable of such cohesion or the self-serving analysis of someone else’s personal journey not fitting into your own vanity and requirements for mutual respect. To love the self to such an extent that you can describe the self in great detail and know who you are is not a bad thing.

We are on a sex-focused site ran by a self-identified sexual adventurer and professional sex consultant? How does this not create a leader to follow in the path of labeling the majority of self through sexuality and sexual identity? It is commonly discussed how very personal our sexual self is to our life experiences and that our experiences shape this concept. Something or a string of somethings non-sexual are commonly the basis for sexuality and to deduce any factor in the brain down to a percentage is blatantly non-scientific.

This is technically a matter between two capable and communicative adults but I must say it did sadden me a bit to see such a beautiful feminine person as Shine referred to as butch lesbian. She is a perceiver and interpreter of beauty as a poet and exudes femininity through her body movements her smile sparkling eyes and giggles. She also smells like grapefruits and amber. Even if she wore “men’s” fragrances it does not change who she is. Those are things she wears and not what makes her a person.

Sometimes we may forget our culture is a pit of self-doubt. A Women’s clothing section (and any goods store) is designed to force the purchasers of these goods to aspire an unnatural shape in order to generate the need for more goods such as expensive bras creams lotions and weight loss pills and whitening toothpaste.
Well, you know, you live in America with all the magic happiness granting goodies.
The nice tops and bottoms are all tailored to make your bust and butt stick out further objectifying your appearance (which is supposed to be getting you closer to the unattainable lifestyle we have been marketed) but what you are really left with is a completely unfeminine perception of yourself because you do not have a hourglass figure or a perky rack or perhaps not a single curve (other than a pesky little chub here or there). Solution? Dress how you feel. You don’t want to wear women’s clothes anymore because you aren’t womanly because you have been told in every magazine and billboard that you are not ok.

What if you don’t need that or want that in your life? What if something appeals to you and it looks nice but it’s designated for “men”? I think we obtained many rights this way and there was not a silent one among them. We must protect the right to be ourselves by expressing ourselves till there is a true sense of acceptance. The instant we take for granted the freedom we have achieved it will be gone. I am a woman and I have to fight to have right over my body in this country. Damn proud a woman can be unafraid to be spectacular in her self in the most significant way possible by demanding freedom and respect of the deeply personal sexual identity.


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